Mondays with Millie
This week marks an exciting addition to Black Chicken Host’s blogging week – Mondays with Millie, featuring the author of Real Food for Less Money, one of my favorite food websites. Millie’s expertise with creating healthy, nutrient-dense foods on a budget is vast and impressive, and many of her recipes have become regular parts of my weekly food planner.
Without further ado, here’s Millie!
Did you know that before freezers, pressure canners and water bath canners people were preserving food? They used a process called lacto-fermentation. You are probably familiar with a very popular lacto-fermented food: Sauerkraut. Traditional sauerkraut was made in big crocks with the simple combination of cabbage and sea salt. These two ingredients were pounded together to release the juices and allow the good lactic acid to do its job and eliminate any ‘bad’ bacteria.
Lacto-fermented and cultured products are such a wonderful and necessary addition to a healthy diet. These products are incredibly digestable and promote many wonderful enzymes help to keep our guts healthy. A healthy gut is the beginning of a healthy body. What makes it even better is that these lacto-fermented and cultured products taste great!
There are so many ways to enjoy these wonderful foods. The sauerkraut already mentioned is a well known lacto-fermented item while yogurt is a well known cultured item. A lesser known but favorite lacto-fermented item in my house is Spicy Pickled Carrots. These are a huge hit even with my more wary children. From the first time I made them they were willing to try them (you know that in itself can be a huge milestone) because they look so familiar. Carrot sticks are a super common food for children. They kept eating them because they taste so good!
With just a hint of spiciness they are perfect even for my youngest (he is 3) but you could make them even milder by reducing the spicy components or eliminating completely.
Spicy Pickled Carrots (as demonstrated in the video)
4-7 Carrots, peeled and cut
1 onion peeled and cut in chunks
5 cloves garlic, peeled and slivered
2 pinched red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
3 cups pure water
5 teaspoons sea salt (do not use iodized salt)
2 Tablespoons whey
Combine all vegetables, red pepper flakes and black peppercorns in a quart size jar. Press down to fit. Leave at least 1 inch head room at top of jar. Pour in whey. Add water to cover vegetables remembering to leave your 1 inch head room at top of jar. Let set at room temperature for 3-5 days and then move to the refridgerator.
Enjoy as a side dish or snack. Do not heat these carrots before eating. Heating will destroy the good properties that a lacto-fermented item produces.
Be sure to visit my blog for the original Spicy Pickled Carrots post which shows a slightly different version of this recipe (less spice) and a variation.